15 linked to TDP, BJP held over Andhra temple incidents
Amaravati, Jan 15 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh police arrested 13 people linked to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and two people linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for their alleged role in cases pertaining to temple attacks, the Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said on Friday.
As many 17 people known to have ties with the TDP and four with BJP, totalling 21, have been identified to have been linked to nine cases.
Until now, 15 have been arrested, while police is looking for others.
“Investigation of the cases so far has revealed deliberate attempts and involvement of vested interest groups and some political parties who seem to be behind these incidents as well as the false publicity regards the incidents,” said Sawang.
Challa Madhusudhan Reddy from TDP and BJP Dompet mandal secretary Konchada Ravi Kumar are among the accused.
Stating that this is an attempt to disturb communal harmony and cause unrest and disturbance in the state, Sawang said specific involvement of political parties or affiliates has been identified in at least nine cases.
“So that makes it very clear that this is part of a larger design and a game plan. We appeal to all groups and political parties to refrain from such wrongful activities and indulging in false publicity and propaganda,” the DGP observed.
AP’s senior most Indian Police Service (IPS) officer warned of strong action against such elements and individuals, including those who misuse social media in the cyberspace.
Sawang highlighted that propaganda is happening on social media as well as some visual media.
“In some cases, mediapersons are getting carried away by this kind of false publicity and propaganda,” he highlighted.
The head of the state police force said they take pride in the legacy of communal harmony prevailing among the people of the state of AP.
“We appeal to all to come together, help us and help ourselves to protect the temples and religious places in our state and maintain peaceful and harmonious coexistence in the state,” he said.
He said some people have been trying incident after incident to provoke, distort, allege and create panic with disinformation and disrupt communal harmony existing in the state.
Sawang said there are specific provisions, as far as the law of the land is concerned, which is also enshrined in the Constitution of India to uphold rights.
“We have to see that Constitutional rights and Constitutional tenets are maintained. Harmony has to be maintained. Particularly, religious harmony has to be maintained at all costs,” he said.
As part of the probe, he said police are also investigating cases in which some people are circulating old videos as new cases.
According to the DGP, mere forwarding of false information will also amount to an offence and attract action.
“That’s why everybody has to be careful. Nowadays, we have technology to do digital forensics, digital footprint will be done. We can know where it originated. If someone has created something and sent it, it can be found from where it first came, that information also we can get,” he observed.
He said police have also kept an eye on people recurrently indulging in misinformation campaigns.
Likewise, the police department is also taking legal opinion on how to move forward in cases where some people have made allegations attributing caste, community and region as it violates the Constitution.